Last month I was pleased to attend a panel hosted by NYU Student Animal Leagal Defense Fund & the Environmental Law Society on Ocotber 25th. Panelists included Jonathan Lovvorn of The Humane Society of the United States, Animal Rights lawyer David Wolfson, Kevin Fulton of Fulton Farms, Jennifer Soreson of the National Resources Defense Fund and arguably the star of the night New York Times writer Mark Bittman.
Mark Bittman has become a bit of a celeb with many vegans due to his many opinion pieces sensitive to issues of factory farming, and food politics with an awareness of animal issues. The two things Bittman argues as being the most important to addressing factory farming is the outlawing of CAFOs and the taxing of junk food.
Shocking to imagine, Sorenson reminded the audience that over 81% of antibiotics are used in feed in the factory farming industry, including pennicillan/tetracyclin which the NRDC has brought a lawsuit against the FDA for approving for commercial use in animal feed.
As a representative of animal slaughter, as "humane" as it may be, it's hard to draw much sympathy for Fulton's viewpoint, though he did argue for the need for transparency on farms. This point was highlighted by Lovvorn of HSUS who spoke of the challenge in even seeing factory farms, let alone legislating factory farming. As a lawyer for the Humane Society of the United States Lovvorn spoke of the lack of ability to legislate factory farms and the only aspect in which CAFOs can really be tackled legally is with nuisance cases.
While the event didn't bring any revelations, it was refreshing to hear of all the work both the NRDC and HSUS are doing in addressing the issue. Delicious food for the event was provided by Gobo.